I love shopping, but the manic post-Thanksgiving crush at the mall can make anyone’s head spin. In their pursuit of rock-bottom savings, frenzied shoppers have been known to get agitated and stressed out, which can trigger rude behavior towards each other and sales staff. And when that happens, it’s very easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the holidays.
If you’re prone to stressing out over petty things when doing your holiday shopping, refer to this etiquette guide to help you keep your calm. After all, life is too short to fight over shopping carts!
Shop during off-peak times if possible. Hitting the mall on a Saturday afternoon is the shopping equivalent of getting stuck in rush-hour traffic. Instead, do yourself a favor and try to hit the shops during the week, preferably during the day if your schedule allows it. There will be fewer crowds, shorter lines, and more parking spaces—a win-win!
Exercise good parking etiquette. This is one of those times when it’s nice to pay a few extra dollars and go with valet. If that’s not in your budget, you can ask someone for a ride or car-pool with a friend. If you do have to drive and park on your own, pay attention, don’t chat on your cell phone while a row of cars honks from behind you, and be sure that your car stays well within the borders of the parking space so that cars can easily park next to you. Avoid dawdling at your car or running back to your vehicle unless you plan to exit, and when you are ready to leave do so quickly and efficiently. There’s nothing worse than waiting for a car to pull out of a parking space while the people inside sit inside and chatter. And if you’re the one waiting for a space, be patient, and don’t honk or steal spaces that other cars have been waiting for. Also, make sure that you are always driving down the right side of a one-way row, look out for pedestrians, and put your cart away in the proper space so that it doesn’t block a parking space or roll away.
Be polite to other shoppers and sales staff. Getting snippy will not win you any fans, especially if you’re relying on a shop assistant to track down the last Transformers action figure that your son just has to have. A little kindness goes a long way.
Be ready to pay. Don’t wait until the cashier rings up all of your items to pull your wallet out, especially if there’s a long line of people behind you. Have your credit card or cash ready so you can get in and out. And while being kind is a bonus, now is not the time to start chatting to the sales clerk about the weather. Thank them and let them move on to the next customer.
Find a babysitter. If your kids are a bit on the rowdy side, leaving them with a babysitter while you shop while help things run much more smoothly. Just think—no tantrums, no sticky hands on the display cases, and no fear of losing them in the crowds. If money’s tight, arrange a deal with a parent pal so that you return the favor when she needs to hit the mall.
Do your research. If you’re on the hunt for something specific, you can save yourself a lot of time by verifying ahead of time—either by going online or calling the store—that the item is indeed available.